The fall in popularity of the Blackberry, the Research in Motion (RIM) smartphone considered the premier must-have gadget just a few years ago, has been epic. Executives, techies, and everyday consumers have almost universally swapped their Blackberries for iPhones or Android smartphones, leading RIM to recently announce plans to lay off 5,000 workers—after laying off 2,000 just last year. Charged with bringing Ontario-based RIM back from the brink is Thorsten Heins, a 6’6″ German physicist who has been with the company since 2007, and took over as CEO in early 2012. Heins has claimed that RIM is “not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral,” but the company’s stock price tells a different story. After trading as high as $150 per share in 2008, the price dropped under $7 this summer. The headline of an in-depth feature in the Globe and Mail declared that Heins has the “toughest job in corporate Canada.” Considering that Heins must figure out a way to surpass Apple and Google in the battle for smartphone supremacy, that’s probably an understatement.
- Tough Leaders for Tough Times
- Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!
- Ron Johnson, JCPenney
- Thorstein Heins, Research In Motion
- Wayne Sales, Supervalu
- John Maguire, Friendly’s
- Louis D’Ambrosio, Sears
- Donald Layton, Freddie Mac
- Karl-Erling Trogen, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB
- Patrick Donahoe, U.S. Postal Service
- ?, Best Buy